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Weirdest elec prob ever

Old 07-15-2017, 06:11 PM
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Weirdest elec prob ever

So just when I thought I'd seen everything

I get on the bike today and turn the key. When I hit the starter button it dies.

Meaning, dash dead, no lights but clock still on. Then clock off when I hit starter again.

Assume its a battery wire loose but cleaned them to no avail. Battery reads 12.8 volts. When I turn on the key the dash slowly lights up. The voltmeter I put on the dash reads 9v.

When I hit the starter it makes a humming sound similar to a fuel pump priming(!). When I put a jump starter on it (box type not from car) it is more responsive but still only makes the whirring sound of a fuel pump but doesn't turn over.

I have only seen this when a racebike had a petcock failure and the cylinders filled with fuel causing hydraulic lock. But that wouldn't explain why the dash is not getting voltage.

Bike has been running fine and starting strong. I believe battery to be good as it is pretty new and is on a smart charger regularly. Main and ignition fuses seem fine.

I want to push start it to see if its hyrdro lock but it got dark.

If anyone has a clue about this let me know since it defies normal logic.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:03 PM
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Hmmm. Short in the starting system? I'm just subscribing to follow the journey...
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:26 PM
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Starter relay fried?? Use a jumper right to the starter from the battery.
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:10 PM
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So the other oddness is that the dash will come on slowly like on a dimmer. It is so strange. Especially since I rode it home from work yesterday in the rain and its been behaving perfectly as of late.

My only theory is that I got a new go pro type camera and the bike was jealous of the attention I was giving it today. Anyone who has a bike long enuff knows they do get jealous, though its not mentioned anywhere in the service manual.....
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:31 PM
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Mine hasn't yet even though it's been sitting a LOT. Every ride it tries to re-prove itself. Always successfully. I have an iffy set of rubber on the Duc so when I hop on the VTR it's instant confidence.
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:42 AM
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Starting to suspect starter or compression release. Battery was dry so added water and sure that's part of it. Starter kept turning super slowly even after turning key off.

The weirdness continues.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:04 AM
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Pull it and see if 12v spins it up.
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:40 PM
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Pull the battery? Or the starter?
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Old 07-16-2017, 03:50 PM
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So it gets weirder. I tried just the jumper and then jumped with a car battery I keep in the garage. Either one just made the solenoid click or buzz.

Tried another solenoid. Same.

Swapped out the starter motor. Same

So bought a new battery and it will charge overnight on a good smart charger. I still have this weird idea about a hydraulic lock thing since I cant turn the thing over but it was running perfectly 2 days ago when I parked it.
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:48 PM
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I meant starter but ya did it.
Next pull the plugs and see if it'll spin over?
Then manually on the crank with a socket and ratchet...

Last edited by Wolverine; 07-16-2017 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:56 PM
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Problem seem solved!!!!

Before I dwell on what the solution was, I want to point out that historically on here whenever anyone complains of ghosts in the machine and that their bike is going nuts, I have always said " put in a new battery"

Well, with all the mahem and testing Ive been doing I knew that that could be the solution. BUT the car battery, jumper box and lithium battery never got the bike to turn over so I was iffy.

In the end I bought a new battery asap but had to fill it and charge it overnight. Once I did that and installed it,

ALL SEEMS FINE.

Let this be a lesson that a fried battery can cause all kinds of weird issues. Some of which may or may not cause you to swap in a new starter while you wait.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:07 PM
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Glad to hear you had a happy resolution Joe, and thanks for sharing.

I had a similar experience with my daughter's car. Turned the key and the solenoid rattled and the starter nearly turned. "Charged" the battery, much the same. Added jumper cables (off my ST1100!!) and got slightly more starter action, but no start, and the cables got quite warm, even though they are properly thick.

Turned out the original battery had an internal short and so could not put out enough current to properly engage the solenoid or starter. That same short prevented the jumpers being able to provide enough oomph too.

Thankfully I have a very hands on practical co-worker who suggested what the cause was, and a new battery was all we needed. One thing I learned was that when using jumpers and not having success, it can pay to pull the old battery out of the circuit first.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:32 PM
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Yes Cad that pretty much describes what happened. Plus I think jumpers clipped to the bikes terminals is not enuff current flow.

Either way I was imagining worse scenarios.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:39 PM
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lol
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:51 PM
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Haha yes like that but add a big smile that it wasn't what my diabolical imagination thought up.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Plus I think jumpers clipped to the bikes terminals is not enuff current flow.
There should be plenty of current flowing through the jumpers to the bike terminals, but the problem is that some of that current then diverts through the internal short in the battery, so not enough is available to fire the solenoid or starter.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:43 PM
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I was going to suggest replacing the battery. Hindsight is 20/20. LOL.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:56 PM
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Yeah I knew to replace it but I had to get one, fill it, charge it etc. In the meantime I thought I'd be productive and swap the starter.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:28 PM
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Curious why you use a battery that requires adding electrolyte. Bad experience with an absorbed glass mat (gel) battery?
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:20 PM
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Well, now I had to buy the autozone one, but I also bought a gel one online. I have 2 hawks so one for each.

Have you had a gel battery for more than 2 years? That's how long this one lasted. It had a 3 yr warranty so am attempting to get a replacement.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:27 AM
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I bought my Superhawk in Feb 2011. The PO had just put in a gel right before I bought it.

Initially seemed iffy to me but when I replaced the RR with a MOSFET Kawasaki unit and gave the battery a deep charge it settled down. Mostly it was on a battery tender whenever parked in my garage.

I just replaced it about 3 weeks ago not because it had given me any trouble but purely on principle being over 5 years in service. Note I don't put on anywhere near the mileage you do so that may be a big factor in the long service life I got.
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:32 PM
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My batteries historically over the last almost 19 years have lasted about 6 years each; as I'm on only my 3rd battery including the original OEM Yuasa. My second was a Energizer private labeled by Exide. My current battery is a Motobatt (and have put several in other motorcycles), which although Chinese made (my first) has a great warranty that the local distributor quickly honors without questions (I had a customer's Motobatt provide less than stellar performance and he went in and they replaced it on the spot). I also like it because it has twin sets of terminals which makes connecting accessories very convenient; though replace their stupid terminal adapter bits with a "pipe" type spacer and regular 10 MM bolt. I'm not sure it will last 6 because I'm not riding it much since I got my 2015 Red (of course) FJ-09 last July (now a year old with 16,000+ miles!), and only connect it to the Deltran Battery Tender Plus when it drops below 12.8 volts (which takes months).

My weird electrical gremlin is my beloved VTR's propensity to refuse to start with the side stand down when cold. I've replaced the side stand switch assembly with several that test perfectly and traced the circuit finding no faults anywhere. When its warm, no problem, a quick stab of the starter button and it fires immediately. Before you ask, I also checked the starter button, including disassembling and cleaning it; no burned contacts were found. I've also checked (and swapped out) and cleaned the starter relay and the cable and terminal connection down at the starter motor (check yours gentlemen because it lives down low where water blasts it and muck sticks to it. Replacement fiber insulator washers and the special nuts were still available and I bought spare plus I have an aftermarket super-output starter motor plus 2 compete low-mileage spare engines and electrical harnesses and components).

Any ideas why the side stand must be up when cold to start?? Tweety had not answer.

Last edited by skokievtr; 07-21-2017 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:11 PM
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Aw man, wish I knew about the motobatt.

Anyway I got a gel and will try that. Its also the city riding I do. Its all short jaunts in 100*F heat. Fan always going, etc. Even with the smart charger on the regular it tends to cook the battery. I coulda gotten more time if I topped it off.

Will see what happens now. 2 years isn't bad for year round daily use in NYC sometimes sitting 12hrs in zero degrees.

No start when cold due to sidestand is weird. I say that cuz my recent issue was no start due to ss switch when it got too hot. I would wonder if maybe something else is causing that.
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
I say that cuz my recent issue was no start due to ss switch when it got too hot.
You lost me there Joe.

There is not logic in it starting with the side stand down when hot and not cold because the side stand stays at a temperate temperature.
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:35 AM
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Heck no, the sidestand is mounted to the motor, which on my bike gets mad hot. That huge range of temp takes its toll on the ss switch through conductive heat.

Besides, when does a vtr gremlin have to make sense? You'll never catch them using only logic.

My ss switch would fail when HOT not COLD. Heh, they are "temperamental" haha
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:50 PM
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I've got Motobatt batteries in my 3 bikes, the oldest is my VFR and that has done 3 years now with absolutely no issues. I also like the double connector posts which make it really easy to add a charger lead or power heated grips/voltmeter etc.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by skokievtr View Post
My batteries historically over the last almost 19 years have lasted about 6 years each; as I'm on only my 3rd battery including the original OEM Yuasa. My second was a Energizer private labeled by Exide. My current battery is a Motobatt (and have put several in other motorcycles), which although Chinese made (my first) has a great warranty that the local distributor quickly honors without questions (I had a customer's Motobatt provide less than stellar performance and he went in and they replaced it on the spot). I also like it because it has twin sets of terminals which makes connecting accessories very convenient; though replace their stupid terminal adapter bits with a "pipe" type spacer and regular 10 MM bolt. I'm not sure it will last 6 because I'm not riding it much since I got my 2015 Red (of course) FJ-09 last July (now a year old with 16,000+ miles!), and only connect it to the Deltran Battery Tender Plus when it drops below 12.8 volts (which takes months).

My weird electrical gremlin is my beloved VTR's propensity to refuse to start with the side stand down when cold. I've replaced the side stand switch assembly with several that test perfectly and traced the circuit finding no faults anywhere. When its warm, no problem, a quick stab of the starter button and it fires immediately. Before you ask, I also checked the starter button, including disassembling and cleaning it; no burned contacts were found. I've also checked (and swapped out) and cleaned the starter relay and the cable and terminal connection down at the starter motor (check yours gentlemen because it lives down low where water blasts it and muck sticks to it. Replacement fiber insulator washers and the special nuts were still available and I bought spare plus I have an aftermarket super-output starter motor plus 2 compete low-mileage spare engines and electrical harnesses and components).

Any ideas why the side stand must be up when cold to start?? Tweety had not answer.
The engine spins over, but it doesn't start or just does nothing you hit the starter button?
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by skokievtr View Post
My batteries historically over the last almost 19 years have lasted about 6 years each; as I'm on only my 3rd battery including the original OEM Yuasa. My second was a Energizer private labeled by Exide. My current battery is a Motobatt (and have put several in other motorcycles), which although Chinese made (my first) has a great warranty that the local distributor quickly honors without questions (I had a customer's Motobatt provide less than stellar performance and he went in and they replaced it on the spot). I also like it because it has twin sets of terminals which makes connecting accessories very convenient; though replace their stupid terminal adapter bits with a "pipe" type spacer and regular 10 MM bolt. I'm not sure it will last 6 because I'm not riding it much since I got my 2015 Red (of course) FJ-09 last July (now a year old with 16,000+ miles!), and only connect it to the Deltran Battery Tender Plus when it drops below 12.8 volts (which takes months).

My weird electrical gremlin is my beloved VTR's propensity to refuse to start with the side stand down when cold. I've replaced the side stand switch assembly with several that test perfectly and traced the circuit finding no faults anywhere. When its warm, no problem, a quick stab of the starter button and it fires immediately. Before you ask, I also checked the starter button, including disassembling and cleaning it; no burned contacts were found. I've also checked (and swapped out) and cleaned the starter relay and the cable and terminal connection down at the starter motor (check yours gentlemen because it lives down low where water blasts it and muck sticks to it. Replacement fiber insulator washers and the special nuts were still available and I bought spare plus I have an aftermarket super-output starter motor plus 2 compete low-mileage spare engines and electrical harnesses and components).

Any ideas why the side stand must be up when cold to start?? Tweety had not answer.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that your problem is not the sidestand switch, but the neutral switch. The starter solenoid path to ground can go through EITHER the neutral switch (in neutral) OR the clutch (pulled in) AND sidestand switch (sidestand up). No ground path means no starting.

If the neutral switch is indicating in gear (no continuity), then the clutch has to be pulled in AND the sidestand has to be up.

So next time this happens, check the neutral light is light is steadily lit. I'm sure you can also easily jumper the neutral switch (connect the wire to ground) so the starter circuit believes it is always in neutral. You can also check continuity between the neutral switch post and ground (continuity in neutral). The neutral switch is right above the gearchange shaft.


Last edited by Cadbury64; 07-25-2017 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:23 PM
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Cad I agree with your assessment after chasing my own no start gremlin. I simply replaced each iffy part since its an older bike anyway and not one of the components are likely to have tons of life left in them.

I replaced the neutral switch for like $10 and 10min work. Why not just swap it to know? Then the starter button, Ive seen a ton of them look perfect after you clean them but still not work right.

I was ecstatic to be rid of the issue and the money it took was a fraction of what a shop would charge to even try to fix it.
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Old 08-03-2017, 10:08 PM
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Jeeze... You fellas may me want to replace everything electrical now, haha. I don't want to get stuck in Manhattan, 50 miles from home.
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